One Meal One Day

This past year, I’ve had the privilege of working with Compassion International and LEAD 222 to help create some preparatory content for this year’s One Meal One Day (OMOD) event. On Nov. 9, 2011, students all across the nation will skip a meal and raise money for Compassion International. Aside from just the monetary aspect, the main goal is introduce students to Compassion International and a what it means to live a lifestyle that has concern for the vulnerable all around the globe. It differs from a 30 hour famine in that there’s a strong evangelism component to it. We asked the question, “how can we use a universal concern for the poor to help students lead their peers to Jesus – to at least open a dialogue about what makes Christian compassion Christian?” It was hard work, but a delight to be involved in creating the pre-event content that group leaders across the nation will use to help prep their groups for OMOD. Check out one of the four videos and follow the link if you’d like to see the other three – you’ll have to download the OMOD_Program Series┬áif you want to see what we wrote. Also, special thanks to my summer interns, Allison Stein and Ryan Schultz for their contributions.

A plea for pastors to engage the moral imperative of immigration reform

President Obama spoke at the Annual Hispanic Prayer Breakfast yesterday. I was surprised that he set up and addressed the issue of immigration reform and urged pastors and clergy to carry out their ministry in partnership with his power in politics. The meat of it begins at about 2:00.

“Immigration is a moral imperative, and we are seeking greater understanding from our faith. As it says in Deuteronomy…”

I love how he says that we must not develop amnesia regarding our own situation how we got to where we are. This is precisely what God commands his people in Deuteronomy 10:19 (Obama’s speechwriter actually did a fair job of interpreting the verse), but from an even deeper place. Rather than just remembering our family trees and heritage, God commands his people to care for the sojourner in their midst because they were sojourners in the land of Egypt, delivered by God from slavery and oppression. He references nothing less than the history of redemption and salvation. Care for the immigrant because God cared for you in such a way as to save you and deliver you. Care for them so you don’t forget who you are and what God has done for you.

If you’re interested in this topic and want to learn more, a couple of great resources are the Urban Entry videos produced by my friend Scott Lundine out in Denver. Vol. 4 deals with immigration, but the other videos deal with Charity and Transformation, Poverty, and Race. They are high quality, short, discussion starters for you and your group. I like them because there’s no presumption or arrogance. They just raise the questions and pose some answers. Here’s a sample from YouTube.

Here’s one by Dr. Daniel Carroll who wrote a great book on what the Bible says about immigration called, Christians at the Border.

I’d be interested to know. What are your biggest questions/struggles with the issue of immigration reform? Where do you think Christians need to stand?

The Power of Meditation

I was reminded this morning on the difference between meditation as practiced by Eastern mysticism versus Christianity. In Eastern pantheistic monism, the goal of meditation is to empty the mind such that there are no individualized thoughts. It is in essence intellectually contentless meditation, an attempt to become one with Reality by tuning one’s soul to the harmony of the cosmos. Sounds so mystical and supernatural, but if I get there, it ends up in a complete loss of the individual.

In Christianity, I am focusing on the glory of Christ to make my thoughts pleasing to him (Ps 19). In fact, the more I behold the glory of Christ, the more I become transformed into it. The process of meditation is no less supernatural as its focus is the divinely inspired Word of God. It begins with revelation and ends with illumination. Instead of becoming nothing, I actually become more human as I relate to and commune with my Maker.

How do you meditate? What practices/repetitions/liturgies do you employ to meditate on the glory of Christ?